*UPDATE (28/02/13): The Transworld Business post is back up online, the explanation for its temporary disappearance was apparently that: “Members of the Quiksilver umbrella of brands had not all been notified” of changes.
In order to clear things up and respond to the rumours, Quiksilver’s CEO Andy Mooney has apparently released a memo, a copy of which was obtained by BoardSport Source Magazine.
You can read the full text of the memo below but the key points as far as snowboarding goes are these:
1) There won’t be any changes to the Quiksilver European team, including regional teams. So Quik UK riders (Billy Morgan, Jamie Trinder and all) needn’t worry (not that they were anyway).
2) They will reduce the number of athletes under contract, although it’s unclear how many of those who go (if any) will be snowboarders.
3) Quik and DC will continue to sponsor as many as 93 snowboarders worldwide, not including the Mervin riders who will also continue to be sponsored.
So (assuming this memo isn’t a spectacularly elaborate hoax or something) it looks like while there are changes afoot at Quik, things are not as bad as they might have seemed. Phew!
Here’s the full memo from Mooney:
“I thought it would be helpful to share a few details about recent decisions made, the rationale behind them and the process involved. I spent my first two weeks on the job with Bob, Charlie and Carol meeting Pierre and his team in Europe, Greg in Japan and Australia as well as Craig and the QAS team in Hong Kong.
Those two weeks were an invaluable learning experience, listening to the challenges and opportunities in each region. After that I spent a a number of weeks with Rob and the US team.
After 10 weeks of meetings, capped off with a week long executive team meeting in Huntington Beach, Bob, I and the entire management team reached consensus on some key decisions we can communicate today. Focus is a recurring theme you’ll hear going forward. We must focus on our key brands, key athletes and key categories in order to compete and grow.
Our key brands are Quiksilver, Roxy and DC. Within these brands we must further focus.To that end, we have made the decision that Quiksilver and Roxy should exit the skate category and that DC should exit the surf category.
Those decisions were relatively easy to make and require little explanation. A more difficult decision was for Quiksilver to exit women’s. We felt this was vital in order to focus our resources on making Quiksilver in men’s and Roxy in women’s as strong as they can possibly be.
The Quiksilver’s women’s and girl’s teams have done an outstanding job generating top line growth. Some of this growth however has come at the expense of existing business, particularly within our own retail stores.
In order to generate significant future growth, it seemed inevitable that we’d cannibalize Roxy’s business in key categories. This was a particularly difficult decision as many people have given their all to make Quiksilver women’s a success.
We believe this decision however will allow us to compete more aggressively in men’s with Quiksilver and in women’s with Roxy. A few web articles over the last few days stated DC was exiting women’s. This is absolutely untrue.
DC will remain in women’s in footwear and apparel. We have always been strong in key items in women’s footwear and apparel at DC and expect to be even more so going forward. We have made the decision to discontinue VSTR and to pass the management of the Summer Teeth brand back to Dane Reynolds, again, in order to focus on our key brands.
Athletes are vital to the success of Quiksilver, Roxy and DC. We have an amazing roster of talent at the top of their respective sports in surf, snow and skate and an equally amazing depth of talent. We’re committed to maintaining our leadership position in athlete endorsement in action sports.
Our key athletes should be household names, known well beyond the universe of core fans. Over the last few weeks, we reduced the number of athletes under contract. This was done to free up resources to tell the world about the many great athletes we work with.
Quiksilver for example will continue to have 130 pro surf riders on its team, Going forward, we have the opportunity to tell people how great those athletes really are. All of these actions are in support of our three strategic goals of strengthening our brands, growing sales and driving operational efficiency.
I hope this puts these recent decisions in some context. We have a great many details to work out and will have more news to share with you in the coming weeks. I will do my utmost to keep you informed every step of the way.”
*UPDATE: Looks like the Transworld Business article that we refer to below has been taken down for one reason or another. Stay tuned for further developments on the situation.
Their logo (‘the mountain and the wave’) is one of the most famous in board sports, and with a team that includes the likes of Tony Hawk, Travis Rice and Kelly Slater, they sponsor some of the most recognizable riders on the planet. But rumours are reaching Whitelines towers that all is not well at Quiksilver HQ.
According to an article on the Transworld Business website which cited “internal sources”, sweeping changes are being made at the company that will see more than 30 employees lose their jobs, and the brand scale back its snowboarding team and range massively.
Apparently “all but the marquee riders” are to be let go, leaving Travis Rice as “the sole rider” left on the Quiksilver snowboard team. While we’ve had no official word from Quik themselves, the hint that bad news is on the horizon was re-inforced by this post on YoBeat.com.
On the upside, the rumours say nothing about Quiksilver-owned Mervin Manufacturing, suggesting that Lib Tech, Gnu and Roxy boards will be unaffected by the change. And while it’s been suggested that DC (also owned by Quik) may cut some BMX riders, it appears their massively popular snow team will also remain unscathed. The same is apparently true of the Roxy snowboard team.
Of course as YoBeat pointed out (with the inimitable phrase “for now, let’s all express our outrage with little-to-no information”) nothing has been confirmed, and we’re as yet unsure of the impact any of this may have on Quiksilver UK riders. But if it’s true, it’s a sorry day for snowboarding.
We’ll keep you updated as and when we hear more.